Washington clears MEK for covert war

Here’s a thought experiment: imagine that there is a terrorist network in the USA that has been ‎responsible for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths over several decades. ‎

The group declares itself dedicated to destroying the US government and has been involved in car ‎bombing urban centres, kidnapping and murdering members of the country’s security forces, and ‎assassinating government scientists, as well as perpetrating countless random murders on businessmen ‎and ordinary families.‎

Now imagine that the Iranian government announces a new policy in which it does not consider the ‎above clandestine group a terrorist entity. That policy means that the network is free to raise money in ‎Iran to fund its terror campaign against US citizens and to lobby for political support among Iranian ‎lawmakers and ambassadors.‎

We can safely conclude that in such a far-fetched scenario, the US government would immediately ‎declare war on Iran and proceed to carpet bomb that country mercilessly - with the Western corporate ‎news media blasting righteous endorsements of vengeance.‎

Yet this scenario of aiding and abetting terrorism is far from far-fetched when it comes to actual US ‎policy towards Iran. Just last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially de-listed the Iranian ‎Mujahideen e-Khalq (MEK) from its official terror watch list.‎

That the MEK is a terror group is beyond dispute, despite the US government’s apparent change of ‎opinion. The term “terror group” applies objectively and accurately. It is not just a pejorative ‎propaganda label used by the Iranian government to blacken some dissident group. Since the ‎‏1980‏s, ‎the MEK network itself claims that it has killed ‎‏40,000‏‎ Iranians whom it considers legitimate targets ‎because they are “loyal” to, that is because they are citizens of, the Islamic Republic. Lower estimates of ‎fatalities are put at around ‎‏17,000‏‎. Proportionate to its population that would give an upper equivalent ‎of ‎‏150,000‏‎ dead Americans - a death toll suffered by Iran which is ‎‏50‏‎ times greater than that ascribed ‎to ‎‏9/11‏‎.‎

The MEK, also known as MKO, has colluded with foreign powers for the stated goal of destroying the ‎Islamic Republic of Iran. Most notably, between ‎‏1980‏‎ and ‎‏1988‏‎ when Iran was facing a US-backed ‎war of aggression by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the MEK functioned as subversives and shock troops ‎operating “behind enemy lines” to betray their own people.‎

For that reason, the group has negligible, if any, popular support within Iran. It cannot claim the slightest ‎modicum of popular mandate that might otherwise serve to give its activities a veneer of legitimacy as an ‎‎“insurgency” or “freedom struggle.” Indeed, it is more accurate to call the group a sort of terrorist cult ‎rather than a political movement. Since ‎‏2003‏‎, the MEK has not even had a base within Iran, operating ‎clandestinely out of Iraq.‎

Such is the organisation’s fringe status, that even Iranian political opponents of the government in Tehran ‎deprecated the US government move to officially de-list it as a terror group. That indicates how extreme ‎the network is viewed by the Iranian population.‎

The Western mainstream media claim that Washington’s clearance of the MEK was given because the ‎group “has renounced violence.” That renunciation was officially made ‎‏10‏‎ years ago. That is also ‎allegedly why the European Union and the British government removed the network from their terror ‎lists in ‎‏2009‏‎ and ‎‏2008‏‎.‎

How these Western governments can maintain this charade with a straight face is rather astounding. The ‎MEK and other Iranian terror gangs, such as the al-Qaeda-linked Jundallah, have been actively plying ‎violence unabated against the citizenry over the past decade. Even Washington officials admit it. ‎Following the murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan on ‎‏11‏‎ January earlier this ‎year with a magnetic bomb attached to his car in northern Tehran, anonymous US officials disclosed to ‎American mainstream media that the killing was the work of the MEK in collusion with Israel’s Mossad.‎

Since ‎‏2007‏‎, five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated. The MEK and Mossad are strongly ‎implicated in all these murders and much worse. ‎

Why US officials should have authoritative knowledge of such MEK activities is quite simple. It is ‎because the US government and its military intelligence support these very terrorist activities, along with ‎Mossad and Britain’s MI‏6‏‎. During the George W Bush presidency, congressional leaders secretly ‎approved a budget of ‎‏$400‏‎ million to arm and fund the MEK and Jundallah. According to investigative ‎American journalist Seymour Hersh, US Joint Special Operations Command trained members of the ‎MEK at a secret site in Nevada between ‎‏2005‏‎ and ‎‏2009‏‎. Training included use of weapons and ‎explosives in the black arts of sabotage, or, in short, terrorism. During the American illegal occupation ‎of Iraq following ‎‏2003‏‎, the MEK was given protection and immunity at a dedicated facility, known as ‎Camp Ashraf, in Iraq from where they would launch operations into Iran. The camp has since been ‎closed down following the large-scale American troop withdrawal from the country.‎

So, the “ceasefire” pretense is a bad joke. However, a substantial reason why the US has de-listed the ‎MEK is the powerful lobbying for such a decision over many years by senior American political and ‎military figures. They include former CIA director James Woolsey, former Homeland Security Secretary ‎Tom Ridge, ex-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and past US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. ‎All of these senior figures, and more, of the American ruling class have called for Washington to give ‎clearance to the MEK - at a time when even US officials are acknowledging that the group is involved ‎in assassinations in Iran. ‎

The move by Washington last week is, in effect, giving full approval to the MEK’s terror and ‎assassination campaign in Iran. It is a stark reminder of Washington’s unwavering warpath towards Iran. ‎Recently, some commentators have tended to misread Washington as giving a rebuff to Israel’s war ‎rhetoric against Iran. But the clearance by Washington of a terrorist campaign in Iran - one that the US ‎government is materially assisting - is a sobering sign that war is still the order of the day. The recent ‎alleged spats between Washington and Tel Aviv are more likely a reflection of tactical variance due to ‎the forthcoming US presidential election than any substantive difference in aggression towards Tehran.‎

It is hardly a coincidence that Washington’s MEK announcement was made only days before Iran’s ‎President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the ‎‏67‏th summit of the UN General Assembly in New ‎York. The Washington regime also took the unprecedented step of denying some ‎‏20‏‎ Iranian diplomats ‎travel visas to attend the UN assembly ¬ this week - this despite an historic agreement by the US, as ‎host nation to the United Nations, to refrain from such obstruction of diplomats from any country ‎regardless of bilateral disputes.‎

The obstructive snub to Iran’s sovereignty comes in the wake of the successful hosting of the Non-‎Aligned Movement (NAM) last month in which some ‎‏120‏‎ member states gathered in Tehran. And it ‎beggars belief that such a diplomatic mugging by Washington this week is not related to Iran’s new ‎presidency of the NAM emphasizing the urgent need for an overhaul of the UN Security Council and ‎greater democracy within the UN General Assembly to end the abusive political domination by the US. ‎Such an overhaul is glaringly obvious now especially in light of the American member of the “security ‎council” supporting terrorism in Iran and denying the victims of terrorism a full hearing. (That other has-‎been security council power, Britain, is also a disgrace for the same reason.)‎

Washington’s sinister relationship with Iranian MEK terror group points up the fact of who really is the ‎‎“rogue state.” White House rhetoric has long tried to paint Iran as such. But in the real world, the MEK ‎joins the phalanx of Washington’s terror proxies and mercenaries, from the Contra to al-Qaeda, who ‎do America’s dirty work around the world. Like the MEK, it’s probably only a matter of time before ‎al-Qaeda is also given official clearance by Washington. Yes, the contradictions are perverse, but such ‎is America’s real relationship with world terrorism and its rogue status par excellence.‎